Thursday, July 14, 2016

Today's quote: "Bernie Sanders wants his youthful erstwhile followers to transfer their support to someone who is not only the embodiment of Wall Street, with all its blood-sucking and all its crookedness, but the personification of U.S. imperialism in an era when its depth of crisis has produced a state of perpetual war." Gary Leupp, Counterpunch

1--Helicopter money? The hour draws closer

The yen sank across the board on Thursday as the upbeat mood on global stock markets stretched into a sixth day and media reports stoked speculation the Bank of Japan could take steps to fund government spending directly.

"We've heard a lot of talk about fiscal policy out of Japan. Something will happen on that front. The big question is whether there will be further monetary easing and coordination of the two. That does seem possible."

2--The market shouldn't be at record highs — CEO of world’s largest asset manager

"I don't think we have enough evidence to justify these levels in the equity market at this moment," Fink said Thursday on CNBC's "Squawk Box." He said the recent rally has been supported by institutional investors covering shorts, or bets that stocks would fall, and not individual investors feeling bullish

"Since Brexit, we've seen ETF flows almost at record levels ... $18 billion of inflows," Fink said. "However, in the mutual fund area, we're continuing to see outflows."

What that tells you is retail investors are pulling out, he said. "You're seeing institutions who were short going into Brexit ... all now rushing in to recalibrate their portfolios."

Besides the stock mutual fund outflows, Fink said he's been seeing huge inflows in fixed-income products. "So you're seeing a risk-off trade, as we call it, around the world."

"I would not be surprised — I'm not predicting it — if somebody told me the 10-year Treasury is at 75 basis points, I would not be surprised," Fink said.
There's also $55 trillion in cash on the sidelines, he estimated. "You're seeing a massive reservoir of cash building up."
Fink said extraordinary central bank asset purchases has been inflating stocks prices.
"I don't think we should be at new [stock] highs," he said. "All the stock repurchases, you're seeing this reduction in investable assets."

3--Dow surges 150 points as JPMorgan rises; S&P hits new intraday high

U.S. equities traded sharply higher Thursday after the Bank of England hinted at looser monetary policy next month and as earnings season kicked into full gear.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose more than 150 points, with Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and IBM among the top gains contributed.
The S&P 500 rose about 0.7 percent and hit a fresh intraday high, led higher by financials. The Nasdaq composite rose approximately 0.6 percent

4-- Revving up the helicopters

5--Helicopter money "is against the law"  (Uh, huh)

6--Gundlach says Wall Street’s suffering ‘mass psychosis’

“There’s something of a mass psychosis going on related to the so-called starvation for yield,” said Gundlach, whose fund manages about $100 billion. “Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t like investments where if you’re right you don’t make any money,” he said.
Gundlach believes that the benchmark 10-year note will move above 2% soon, but perhaps not until sometime next year. Some market participants see the benchmark’s yield tumbling further before that rise happens.

7--The Irish "Howler"

Yves again. Look at the last chart. It shows growth falling to zero. Now since it was positive previously, the Irish economy probably did show some growth, but a guesstimate is under 3%.
So the effect of putting out the barmy 26.3% figure was in fact a masterstroke of propaganda. Economists and the media piled on, saying the figure was clearly too high, but no one questioned the basic premise that there was growth.

8--One striking chart shows why pharma companies are fighting legal marijuana

The tanking numbers for painkiller prescriptions in medical marijuana states are likely to cause some concern among pharmaceutical companies. These companies have long been at the forefront of opposition to marijuana reform, funding research by anti-pot academics and funneling dollars to groups, such as the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, that oppose marijuana legalization.....

They found that, in the 17 states with a medical-marijuana law in place by 2013, prescriptions for painkillers and other classes of drugs fell sharply compared with states that did not have a medical-marijuana law. The drops were quite significant: In medical-marijuana states, the average doctor prescribed 265 fewer doses of antidepressants each year, 486 fewer doses of seizure medication, 541 fewer anti-nausea doses and 562 fewer doses of anti-anxiety medication.
But most strikingly, the typical physician in a medical-marijuana state prescribed 1,826 fewer doses of painkillers in a given year....

"This provides strong evidence that the observed shifts in prescribing patterns were in fact due to the passage of the medical marijuana laws," they write.

9-- How Brexit will hit Europe hard

...when the market doesn’t believe in the ability of banks to deliver adequate returns it has a direct economic impact over time. That, in turn, should impact credit spreads down the road.
As long as the ECB is sitting so firmly on credit, you could choose to ignore that. But as we have pointed out previously, the experience last year from covered bonds strongly suggests that if the broader backdrop becomes negative, then it can outweigh ECB purchases and lead to wider spreads.
What’s apparent to us is that the tension between the technical created by the CSPP and the bearish undertones is increasing. The exact tipping point on the seesaw is extremely difficult to identify ex ante, because as much as anything it is a function of market psychology. We may never reach it, or we may already have crossed it

10--Trade is good. Globalization is bad. Oh yeah, and prices are going up because of economic nationalism

  (video Santelli)

11--Putin regrets repeated refusal of US to cooperate with Russia in Syria

12--What EU Gas Market Will Win From Nord Stream 2 Implementation

13---Chart Of The Day: America’s Strongest Growth Sector——-Laws And Prisoners

14--Helicopter Money——The Biggest Fed Power Grab Yet

15--Send Our War Criminals to the Hague Court

The men and women responsible for this biggest disaster in our era should be brought to account. As long as Bush and Blair swan around and collect speaking fees, we have no right to lecture other nations, including Russia and China, on how to run a democracy or rule of law. Bush and Blair should be facing trial for war crimes at the Hague Court.

16--Turkey is going to be Russia's little friend?

I will have to see it to believe it.  
  • Will Turkey seal its borders against the non IS jihadis it has been supporting?
  • Will Turkey really offer Turkish citizenship to these jihadis more or less trapped in Turkey by a border closure?  To do so is to sponsor the creation of an internal 5th column.
  • Will Turkey take part in combined operations with Russia against its former jihadi allies?
  • Would the abased but still strong Turkish Army (the children of Ataturk) not take notice of Erdogan's weakness?
If all this happens the Syrian government will eventually emerge as one of the strongest military powers in the Levant.  The Israelis and the Gulfies would then have reaped the whirlwind. 
Such a future would be the most profound kind of defeat for the Borg and its servants in Washington.  I am particularly thinking of the malevolent creature Ash Carter.
I hope, but need to see more before I will believe.  pl

17--The New York Times, Michael Eric Dyson and the politics of race (and division)

The Times is the former journalistic flagship of American liberalism. For many years it has been the public voice of the Democratic Party. Its principal constituency is a combination of significant sections of the Wall Street financial elite and a broad layer of the affluent middle class.
In recent years, the newspaper has been relentlessly promoting various forms of identity politics, focused particularly on matters of gender and sexual orientation, and, more recently and with increasing ferocity, on race. Hardly a day goes by when the Times does not publish either an editorial, an op ed column or news article portraying America as a racially polarized society with a white population seething with hatred for blacks.
This obsessive preoccupation with race and insistence on the pervasiveness of white prejudice has nothing to do with a struggle for civil rights or anything traditionally identified with a democratic or egalitarian agenda. Rather, it reflects the interests and concerns, in the first instance, of a privileged and narrow elite among African-Americans that is consumed by a striving for greater wealth and privilege.
More broadly, it reflects the concerns of wealthy social layers over the growth of class consciousness and signs of a political radicalization in the working class. The politics of race, whether in the form of anti-black racism or black nationalism and separatism, have long been used as an ideological weapon of the capitalist class to divide the working class and impede the struggle for socialism....

These developments have made the Times all the more anxious to shift the narrative back to race and gender and use identity politics as a bludgeon against the growth of class consciousness...

he piece by Dyson, about which we will have more to say, has been followed by a long “news analysis” published Wednesday that purports to show that Donald Trump is an expression of the pervasive racism of white people, especially workers, in America. Author Nicholas Confessore writes: “In countless collisions of color and creed, Donald J. Trump’s name evokes an easily understood message of racial hostility… In a country where the wealthiest and most influential citizens are still mostly white, Mr. Trump is voicing the bewilderment and anger of whites who do not feel at all powerful or privileged.”...

Nevertheless, the ferociously racialist line was retained. Among other things, the column as published in last Sunday’s print edition labels all opposition to affirmative action and other forms of racial preference as white racism, depicts Trump as the embodiment of white prejudice, and insists that racism is the overriding cause of police violence.
And it retains the assertion that blacks constitute a separate nation within the United States. Dyson does not think through the implications of his own statements, but they are there nevertheless. If blacks and whites are separate nations, then there is a case for partition or secession. The logic of this argument leads inexorably to the type of bloody sectarian warfare, stoked by US imperialist wars and interventions, that is sweeping the Middle East, Libya and other parts of the world...

As for Obama’s endless wars, drone assassinations, indefinite detention policies, mass spying, Dyson generally has nothing to say. His supposed concern for black people does not extend to the people of the African continent who will be brutalized and killed as the United States expands it military operations on that continent.

18-- Freedom Rider: Why We Need Black Anger, Margaret Kimberley

The corporate media needed to take black anger off of the front pages and the airwaves. Every photo of a black cop crying over his dead colleagues was placed front and center. Black protesters who shook hands with red necks were lionized. Every image of a white cop hugging a black child was suddenly deemed prize worthy....

Showing anger towards Obama would be the truest test of black political development. For now black people need help even acknowledging that they are angry about their condition at all. Expecting more than that is a vain dream.

19-- Rethinking racism in the US. The reemergence of class war

The wave of state violence takes place under specific conditions: a deepening economic and social crisis, an immense growth of social inequality, mounting signs of a resurgence of class struggle and a broad process of political radicalization within the American working class.
The number of days lost to major strikes in the US in 2015 was nearly four times that of 2014, and this year, with the month-long strike by Verizon workers, the figure will be far higher still. Even more disturbing to the ruling class, there are mounting signs, including the near-rebellion last year by autoworkers, that the trade union bureaucracy is losing its grip on the working class. And the mass support among workers and especially among youth for the campaign of Bernie Sanders, who describes himself as a socialist and talks of a “political revolution” against the “billionaire class,” has revealed the widespread growth of anti-capitalist sentiment, to the horror of the ruling elite

The aim of the campaign to inundate the public with a racialist narrative concerning police violence and all other aspects of American society is to divert attention from the capitalist system itself and head off the development of what the ruling class fears most—a broad, popular movement uniting the working class in the struggle against this economic system....

Today, 87 percent of Americans, including 84 percent of whites, say they support interracial marriage, up from 4 percent in 1958. Fifteen percent of all new marriages in 2010 were interracial, more than double the share in 1980....

The promotion of a sectarian outlook is embraced by politicians and academics who have a deep and vested interest in racial politics. They generally have nothing but praise for President Obama, who has presided over eight years of unending war, growing social inequality and poverty, and the arming of police departments with military-grade weapons throughout the country. These purveyors of racial politics are indifferent to the social distress of broad sections of the working class and have no proposals to improve their plight

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